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"You are not reading that book again?!" 

"Hello James." Lily said placing the book down on her lap, and looking up at the 6ft of hunk standing incredulous before her. Hunk? Hunk? What are you saying girl? 

"I don't get it." he stated. 

"Don't get what James?" Would it be terribly rude just to ignore him? Yes. Just tell him to go away- can't, being civil remember? Damn! Language. Why? No one can hear me. Although sometimes Lily suspected that Severus Snape could read her mind. It was creepy, just this look he gave her sometimes- a knowing look, it made her shiver, quite unlike the normal disgusted, disdainful look... 

“Hello? Earth to Lily.”  James said, waving his hand in front of Lily’s face. She brought her eyes back into focus. 

“Hmm...Sorry- what were you saying?” 

“I said- I’d much rather prefer a Stephen King, none of this lovey-dovey stuff for me.” James can read? Wait- lovey-dovey stuff? 

“Lovey-dovey stuff? Lovey... This book is a classic! It’s about passion and politics and-” 

“Love.” 

“Well of course it’s about love,” she conceded, “if it’s about life, it has to be about love.” She justified as if it was obvious. At her agitated declaration, he cocked an eyebrow- just one. How does he do that? Try as she might- and ashamedly she had- she could never get one brow to work independently of the other. 

“Never had you pegged as a hopeless romantic Evans.” a grin on his face. He is trying to annoy you, he’s winding you up- that’s why he used your surname, don’t rise to the bait. 

“I am not a hopeless romantic!” Or do- whatever! Honestly Lily. James grinned in triumph and it only served to irritate her further. 

"Oh what would you know any way, Potter” she stressed the name and his smile fell a little. “Have you ever even read it? No? Well then. Stephen King preferable to Jane Austin? As if!” 

“Well have you ever read one of Stephen King’s books?” Lily faltered at his counter. 

“Well...err... not exactly.” 

“Ah-hah.” his satisfied smirk was back, but Lily was not one to be beaten so easily.  

“Alright then- you read my favourite book, and I’ll read yours, and then we can both decide that I am right.”

 “Fine, I accept your challenge- but you are so wrong!” they shook hands to seal the deal. 

“So are you going to get me your copy of “Where’s Wally?” now, or later?”

“Very funny.” he replied sarcastically, “You will be reading, for my pleasure, as well as your own, Stephen King’s one and only, Cujo.” Lily laughed. Who was he kidding? A book about a mangy old dog, versus one of the most loved books ever written? He’s already lost! Lily thought allowing herself to grin outwardly. 

“Here you go.” she handed over the book in her lap, admittedly rather reluctantly. “Just look after it, okay? I want it back in one piece.” They both looked down at the novel in both of their grasps. “Okay, four pieces. Just don’t lose any pages, and don’t get it wet, and don’t fold down the corners and don’t-”

James placed his hand over hers, and an involuntary shiver ran down her spine. His hands are just cold Lily justified then why does your skin feel like its burning? Frost bite? Nice try Lily. Oh, shut up. 

“Don’t worry Lily; I’ll look after your baby- as if it were my own.” Lily refused to let her eyes close at the softness and sweetness of his deep voice and eradicated the thought I’m sure James would be a great father. 

“That’s what I’m worried about.” she laughed. 

 

~*~ 

 

Wednesday evening found both James and Lily reading by firelight in the common room. Lily lay in the thick rug; James was sprawled on the sofa. A storm was brewing outside, and though the days were still reasonably long, the hour was late and the sky dark. Lily was half way through her book, and Lily had to admit it; she was hooked. James was only just starting, he’d been at Quidditch practise earlier, but he was used to late nights and wasn’t tired. Plus he didn’t really want to be seen reading such a girly book; in fact, most would tease him about reading at all. 

A chuckle broke through Lily’s concentration. 

“This is so unreal- I’m a single man in possession of a large fortune and I’m not in want of a wife!” Lily sighed mentally. He can’t help it- he’s male. 

“All men are in want of a wife James, rich or not, they just don’t all know it. All men want the same thing- a warm meal on the table and a warm body in their bed. They all think that a wife gives them that. Well I’ll tell you something for nothing- when, if, I get married, there’s no way I’m staying home and cooking every night.” “

That’s alright Lily- I’m an excellent cook. “ Is he insinuating that I marry him... nah, James Potter settle down? Impossible. 

“Alright James.” 

“No really! I’ll prove it sometime- my spaghetti carbonara is to die for!”

 “OK James you do that, but for now, if you’re not going to read, let me.” ‘Cause I’m really enjoying this book- but you don’t have to know that.

 “I am reading! I’m gonna beat you to the end too.” Yeah right thought Lily, but she didn’t say anything aloud. You can gloat when you win. Lily turned back to her book. She just couldn’t drink it in fast enough. It was scaring her so much but she couldn’t drag herself away. She wanted to tear her eyes from one particularly gruesome mauling, but couldn’t. She shuffled backwards. Just rest my back on the sofa. Wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact that you’re terrified and James happens to be sitting at the other end of the very same couch? No, it wouldn’t.

She groaned in disgust at one very descriptive passage and inched down, closer to James’s legs. She gasped in fright and shuffled again, almost touching him. She shivered and turned the page, she did it so that one of her arms snaked around and through his legs, then when she let go of the paper she clutched at his trousers instead- all subconsciously. Err...that is...yuck... oh crap... get out, get out! Oh my God! Lily just put the book down...just...one more page...oh no don‘t do that, don‘t go in their- he‘s in there! 

James was trying very hard to read the book in front of him. Ok, he was pretending very hard to try to read it. But he couldn’t help noticing that every time he looked up, Lily was just a little bit closer to him. Then her arms were encircling his leg and her hand fisted in his trousers. The knuckles were white, and so was her face when he stole a glance. He could see her physically trying to drag her eyes from the page. He was sorry- no actually, he wasn’t- but no matter how beautiful this Bennett girl was supposed to be, she couldn’t be a patch on Lily. No book was better than his Lily. He resisted the urge to stroke her hair, he knew she was only scaring herself so because of him. She never could resist a challenge. 

A huge crash of thunder sounded and Lily jumped, her heart thundering itself in her chest. Chicken she chided herself it’s only a book. Then the lightening struck with another resonating boom and the fire was extinguished. Lily let out a scream and threw the book across the room, putting her hand over her racing heart. 

“James?” she asked in a small voice that she didn’t know she owned. She felt him slide off the sofa and sit on the floor beside her. 

“Right here Lily.” Thank God, Lily found herself thinking, then- wait this is James Potter. But when he found her hand in the darkness and gave it a tender squeeze, she was suddenly a lot less frightened. It’s just the fact he’s here, it could be anyone. It’s just unfortunate that it has to be James. Or lucky? Unfortunate! Or... 

“Not scared are you Lily?” Is he taking the mick? 

“I’m not scared!” he laughed, but it didn’t seem to be aimed at her. He was still holding her hand, and she didn’t think she could remember a nicer sound than his voice at this moment. It’s only because it’s late, and dark and your alone, hmm... we are aren’t we. Lily!

But he sounded genuine. She took a risk. 

“Not when you’re here.” she heard him take a sharp breath. You’re not leading him on! You’re just telling the truth.

 “Lily-” he started, almost as if unsure of himself, but she cut him off. 

“James, something just moved, over there.” he stood immediately, sensing her fear. He pulled his wand from his pocket and lit the tip. A thin beam of light fell on a reflective eye and salivating fang. A snarl erupted and a low growl. That’s, oh my god, that’s - 

“Cujo!” she whispered, hiding her face in James back. She felt rather than heard his laugh and sigh of relief, his tensed shoulders relaxed, and he removed the protective arm that held her behind him. 

“Lily, it’s alright, it’s not Cujo- it’s Sirius.” Huh? Lily poked her head out from behind James, curiosity just overcoming fear. James has gone insane! It’s a bloody rabid dog! Help! 

“Come on Sirius mate, show her.” Lily blinked several times.  Ok- so I’m insane as well. Where the dog had been seconds before now, stood Sirius- Bloody- Black. He was doubled over laughing- at her! James, however, did not seem to find it funny after his initial relief. 

“That was cruel Padfoot! You OK Lily?” he asked, turning and taking her shaking shoulders in hand, looking at her white face, but what he thought was fear, was actually rage. Lucky for him he was compassionate and so spared, unlucky for Sirius who was going to have to bear the whole of it. She turned on him. 

“That was NOT funny Black!” 

“Yeah, but it was tho-” he stopped short when he looked up to find Lily- wand drawn. He gulped and sent a pleading look at his best mate. James shook his head and stood right behind Lily. 

“You deserve what ever she gives you Padfoot. That was just plain evil.” he placed a hand on each of her shoulders, and rubbed, looking like a boxing coach instructing his trainee before a match. He leant down and whispered in her ear. 

“May I make a recommendation my lady?” the hot breath on her neck made her shudder. Pull yourself together- you’re angry remember- angry! Lily nodded her consent. 

“Perhaps a little thing called a bat bogey hex? I seem to recall you are quite talented.” 

“What excellent taste you have.” Sirius’s eyes flicked between them in panic.   

“Can I just say- you know? Before I die- that you two make a great couple, I mean team. Scary as hell, but brilliant.” he scrunched his eyes closed in dreaded anticipation of his fate. He was doomed and knew it. “If it can’t be painless, please, make it quick.” he pleaded.

After an angst filled minute he risked opening one eye. James was again muttering in Lily’s ear. She nodded and muttered something in reply. She didn’t take her eyes from her prey. 

“Goodnight Sirius.” Lily said and James smirked behind her. 

“I...erm...what?” he said, looking between them in confusion. 

“I said- good night Sirius.” 

“But...” 

“Run while you can mate.” Sirius willingly took James’s advice and ran from the room to his dorm, not risking looking back. Lily set a blue fire in the hearth, as opposed to the normal roaring red one, then she turned back and faced James. 

“So about this cold dish- revenge did you say was it’s name?” Lily grinned wickedly. Well if you are going to have a partner in crime- why not James Potter?

 

 

Disclaimer: All books mentioned are the property of their respective authors and used without permission for entertainment purposes only.

A/N: For people who don't know- Cujo is a St. Bernard with rabies that terrorises and kills people. This book wasn't published at the time of the Marauders, but please excuse this fact.

"Where's Wally?" is an english picture book in which you have to spot a character called Wally- hence the title, they were a much loved and hated part of my childhood, if I found him before my brother they were great, if not- well you know sibling rivalry. (Known as Where’s Waldo in the States.)

"The Bennett girl" is a reference to Elizabeth Bennett. A Jane Austin character from Pride and Prejudice.

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